Tag Archives: press

U.S. Mayors Conference awards ‘liveabililty’ prize to West Sacramento

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 25, 2014 —

West Sacramento shared first place honors in the “2014 City Liveability Awards” program from the U.S. Conference of Mayors over the weekend in Dallas.

New Orleans won its award for the program “NOLA FOR LIFE,” a campaign to mobilize government and community partners to fight the city’s “culture of violence,” reported a spokeswoman for the mayor’s conference. The program is credited with helping to bring the city’s murder rate down to what, in the first quarter of 2014, was its lowest rate since 1970.

West Sacramento received its honor for a local partnership called “Universal Preschool for West Sacramento” (UP4WS), which strives “to provide high-quality preschool and child care for all children ages 0-5 in the City of West Sacramento at little cost to residents, through significant subsidies.” Partners include the City, the Washington Unified School District, Yolo County Office of Education, and the First 5 organization.

  Proponents believe early childhood education shows learning advantages and lifelong benefits.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (News-Ledger file photo)

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon
(News-Ledger file photo)

  “West Sacramento has rapidly transformed from a neglected industrial town to a thriving, livable city, and Universal Preschool for West Sacramento (UP4WS) gives our youngest residents and their parents to create a future full of educational success and economic prosperity,” said Mayor Cabaldon in a press statement. “I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of UP4WS and all of our partners who put kids first and turf aside to achieve the impossible.”

  The award was co-sponsored by Waste Management, Inc.

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West Sac fireworks season starts noon today

BYRON PAIGE (second from left) and other volunteers in a fireworks booth at the corner of Lake Washington Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard in 2012. This booth was staffed by partners from Our Lady of Grace church and school and the Knights of Columbus. (News-Ledger file photo)
BYRON PAIGE (second from left) and other volunteers in a fireworks booth at the corner of Lake Washington Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard in 2012. This booth was staffed by partners from Our Lady of Grace church and school and the Knights of Columbus. (News-Ledger file photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 25, 2014 (UPDATED) —

Love it or hate it, the Fourth of July fireworks season in West Sacramento begins this weekend.

Fireworks judged “safe and sane” can be sold at approved booths  in the City of West Sacramento from Saturday, July 28, to Friday, July 4. Permitted hours are noon to 10 p.m. on the first day (Sat., July 28) and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on other days.  The hours at individual booths may vary.

The same fireworks are legal for you to use from noon on Saturday, June 28 through noon on Sunday, July 6.

City officials allow fireworks to be sold by nonprofit and religious groups at a limited number of booths in the city, mostly in shopping centers.  Booth permits are awarded by a lottery after each group submits an application.

This year’s fireworks booth vendors, and the locations of their booths:

— Boosters for International Gymnastics: Arteaga’s parking lot, 940 Sacramento Avenue.

— Lighthouse Christian Ministries: Lowe’s parking lot, 2250 Lake Washington Boulevard.

— Our Lady of Grace School: Papa Murphy’s parking lot, 2455 Jefferson Blvd. (at Lake Washington).

— River City Christian Academy: Wal-Mart parking lot, 755 Riverpoint Court.

—  Sikh Temple Sacramento: across from the temple at 850 Walnut Ave. (at Evergreen).

— West Sacramento Education Foundation: Nugget parking lot, 2050 Town Center Plaza.

— West Sacramento Little League: Raley’s parking lot, 1601 West Capitol Ave.

— Youth for Christ Ministries: Safeway parking lot, 1298 West Capitol Ave.

Public fireworks displays require a city permit.

Raley Field will include a fireworks show the night of July 4 as part of  “Fourth on the Field,” with local food trucks lined up on the baseball field’s warning track, live music from Nunchuck Taylor, interactive games, a children’s area and then a fireworks show. $5 for kids under 12, $10 for those 12 and up, and $15 for “Solon Club” tickets for those 21 and up. Visit the box office or Ticketmaster.

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Yolo supervisors, sheriff agree to a joint investigation of criticisms of sheriff’s management

NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 25, 2014 —

The Yolo County Board of Supervisors and Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto have agreed to form an “independent working group” to address internal issues in the sheriff’s office.

The board of supervisors referred concerns about nepotism and other alleged inappropriate personnel practices to the county grand jury.

  The board of supervisors referred concerns about nepotism and other alleged inappropriate personnel practices to the county grand jury.

The board of supervisors referred concerns about nepotism and other alleged inappropriate personnel practices to the county grand jury.

The resulting grand jury report this year was entitled: “Yolo County Sheriff: Leadership Practices from the Wild, Wild West.”

The new working group is charged with “completing an evaluation of the issues identified in the grand jury report, and to make recommendations where appropriate to improve the operational environment within the Sheriff’s department,” said a statement from the county.

Prieto is quoted as responding:

“It is important to me not only that the issues raised by the grand jury be fully analyzed, but also that all of the Sheriff’s department be provided an opportunity to be heard. I fully support this effort and believe it will enhance my personal commitment and the department’s commitment to excellence and the performance of our duties with increased professionalism and integrity.”

The working group will be chaired by Skip Davies, the mayor of Woodland whose term ends July 2.

In Yolo County, the office of sheriff is an elected one. Sheriffs are not hired and fired by the board of supervisors. The Sheriff/Coroner’s department runs the jail, coroner’s office, animal services department, and conducts law enforcement in Yolo County where it’s not covered by local police departments.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac school board ponders a bond

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — JUNE 26, 2014 —

West Sacramento’s school district tonight will discuss putting a $49.8 million bond on the November 4 ballot, where it would need 55 percent of the vote to succeed.

The money would be used to help fund a lengthy list of repairs and upgrades to facilities in the Washington Unified School District, including fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems. The projects are in the district’s “Capitol Improvement Program.”

Property owners would repay the bonds, with assessments not to exceed $60 per $100,000 of assessed value annually, says the proposed bond resolution. Thus, a homeowner whose house is valued at $300,000 on the tax roll would pay up to $180 per year for bond repayment.

The district sponsored a survey in February which they believe shows a bond measure in November could be successful, provided a campaign educates the public about “the need for facility funding that exceeded both the District and the State’s capacity,” according to a district staff report.

The proposed bond will be part of the school board meeting that begins tonight (Thursday, June 26) at 6 p.m. at city hall, 1110 West Capitol Avenue.

More in next week’s News-Ledger newspaper.

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RCHS standout grads: Sufia Mehmood gets full-ride to Harvard; Kevin Burkes on track for U.S. Air Force Academy

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 18, 2014

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

From the Class of 2014 at River City High School, one pair of graduates in particular stands out for where they’re going next.

Kevin Burkes is on the path to the U.S. Air Force Academy and a potential commission as an officer and possible fighter pilot, while classmate Sufia Mehmood is headed to Harvard on a full-ride scholarship.

SUFIA MEHMOOD She applied to Harvard never thinking she might actually get in. She got a full scholarship. Click to enlarge. (News-Ledger photo)

SUFIA MEHMOOD
She applied to Harvard never thinking she might actually get in. She got a full scholarship. Click to enlarge.
(News-Ledger photo)

Sufia, still 17 years old for a few more months, talks about her upcoming college years with both laughter and some trepidation. She earned a GPA of well over 4.0 in high school. But wasn’t aware of anyone else from her school who has ever earned a spot at Harvard, and this girl from Broderick didn’t think she had a chance either.

“I had never even thought of applying to an Ivy League school,” explained Sufia. “I come from a school with a high drop-out rate. I kind of applied to a couple of Ivy League schools just on a bet.”

“Myself and a couple of other friends just applied, never expecting to get in,” she added. “I visited Harvard only once, because it’s so far away. I went to Princeton, I went to Yale, I went to Harvard. I actually liked the atmosphere of Harvard better – not because the other schools weren’t amazing as well, just because I thought Harvard was a better fit for me because of the atmosphere. It’s not urban. It’s in Cambridge, not (nearby) Boston.”

Harvard receives applications from a lot of the world’s top students. It accepts only five percent of them, she said. But Sufia was stunned to get not only an admission letter, but an offer of a “full ride.”

“If I did not get the scholarship, I would not be able to go at all,” she said.

In addition to the Harvard scholarship, the graduating senior received another $100,000 or so in other scholarships — much of which she will defer to later, to help out with medical school.

The money included $40,000 from the national organization of Elks lodges (the top prize after first winning a local Elks chapter contest), $20,000 from the Dell computer corporation and more.

Sufia’s high school years were filled with classwork along with membership in math and science clubs, scholarship organizations and a student volunteer club.

Is she more of a math and science person, then?

“I am,” answered Sufia. “I have to say I prefer it over English.”

Going into college, she has declared a major of neurobiology.

“I want to become a pediatric oncologist (children’s cancer doctor),” she reports. “I am most interested in brain science.”

Sufia played competitive tennis her freshman year at RCHS, and then switched to recreational play. She’s been a hospital volunteer, too.

“I’ve been at the UCD Medical Center the past two years – I’ve been in the trauma center, E.R., oncology department. I go where they need me. They’ll have me go to the blood bank, or I can feed patients or help with IDs or bandage-changing.”

Sufia has three younger brothers. She also said that a lot of people for helping her on her journey through RCHS, including her parents.

“My family has definitely been supportive,” said Sufia. “Mrs. (Susan) Smith has been my 10th and 12th grade teacher and also my AVID teacher the past four years,” she said, singling out one member of the faculty.  “All the teachers and counselors have definitely helped me. I strongly believe that each person makes an impact, no matter how small.”

Sufia trades Broderick for New England in August.

Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts – just across the river from Boston. Sufia said she is excited, as well as a bit nervous, about her new school, its climate and its culture.

KEVIN BURKES He’s wanted to fly fighter jets since he was a kid. The U.S. Air Force Academy may give him a chance. Click to enlarge. (News-Ledger photo)

KEVIN BURKES
He’s wanted to fly fighter jets since he was a kid. The U.S. Air Force Academy may give him a chance. Click to enlarge.
(News-Ledger photo)

For graduating senior Kevin Burkes, it’s one step towards fulfillment of a long-time dream. After building a record on the football field and in the classroom at River City High School, and receiving a nomination from Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Burkes is on his way to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

It’s a rare thing for a River City Raider to make it to one of the nation’s military academies.

“Since I was a young kid, that was my dream school to go to,” he told the News-Ledger. “I have always been interested in planes, and always wanted to fly. The Air Force Academy was a place my dad showed me as a boy. And I always wanted to join something greater than myself.”

Kevin lives in Southport with his dad and stepmom. He has four brothers and one sister.

Does he come from a military line?

“In my family, I have an uncle who served in the Air Force,” Kevin responded. “My dad served in the Marines, my grandfather served in the Army and my great-grandfather served in the Navy. I’m the first in my family to go to a service academy.”

Kevin, 18, played several different sports during his high school career. An outside linebacker for the school’s football team, he expects to play ball for the Air Force – where he will try especially hard to beat the Naval Academy from Annapolis, Maryland, and the Army Academy from West Point, New York.

Kevin graduated with a 3.75 grade point average, as well as a record of participation in several extracurricular activities.

“I was part of the Interact Club (a volunteer service group) my sophomore and junior years,” he said, “and part of the National Honor Society.”

He was also a member of the Air Force JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps), which has a program on the River City campus.

Kevin gives credit to the school principal and many others for helping him succeed at RCHS.

“Definitely, my principal, Ms. (Katie) Nemer has been there supporting me,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to name all the teachers who helped – most of the teachers have been with me in class, spending time and supporting me if I was struggling.”

Successful academy graduates earn an officer’s commission as well as a college degree. In return for their schooling and training, graduates are required to serve either six years in active duty (for non-pilots) or ten (for pilots), in addition to time as a reserve officer.

“Hopefully, I will have a career as a fighter pilot,” said Kevin, citing one of the most-coveted after Air Force jobs.

Before entering the Academy, he will spend a year in a an academy prep school. Then he will join the Academy’s class of 2019.

Military academies are famous for being especially hard on freshman cadets, with plenty of tough hazing by upperclassmen. At Colorado Springs, for example, freshmen cadets may not wear their backpacks on campus – they must carry them at arm’s length. In the dining hall, they must sit on the front third of their chair, and may chew the food only a regulation number of times before swallowing.

And an ornery senior may choose to make their life difficult by, for example, commanding the newer cadet to “drop and give me twenty pushups.”

“They can pretty much do that at any time,” said Kevin. But he has received some friendly advice from fellow RCHS alumnus Trevor Langford, now heading into his senior year at the Air Force Academy.

“He says freshman year is going to be the hardest year. He says to know that it’s all just a game, it’s not personal, and to just take it one step at a time.”

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Yolo County appoints new planning boss, merges several departments

NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 18, 2014 —

From Beth Gabor, County of Yolo

Yolo County Administrator Patrick Blacklock has announced the appointment of Lautaro “Taro” Echiburu as director of the newly configured Department of Planning, Public Works & Environmental Services.

Lautaro ‘Taro’ Echiburu (courtesy of County of Yolo)

Lautaro ‘Taro’ Echiburu
(courtesy of County of Yolo)

As of July 1, the division of Environmental Health will merge with the divisions of Planning and Building, Public Works and Integrated Waste Management to form the Department of Planning, Public Works and Environmental Services.  For the next six months, Environmental Health will remain in its current location at 137 N. Cottonwood Street in Woodland.  In 2015, it will join Planning and Building, located at 292 W. Beamer Street in Woodland, to provide its customers a more efficient process for permit applications.

Since 2003, Echiburu has served as planning director, interim planning director and special projects/long range/environmental planning manager for the City of Elk Grove.  Prior to that, he was an associate planner with the County of Monterey.

“In addition to his planning expertise, Taro’s background, skills and passion for Yolo County will help us continue to grow and strengthen our long term goal to protect open space and the environment,” said Yolo County Administrator Patrick Blacklock in a Yolo press release.

Echiburu holds a bachelor’s degree in marine science from Universidad Católica del Norte in Chile and a master’s degree in international environmental policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey California.

“I am honored to have been selected director of Planning, Public Works & Environmental Services,” said Taro Echiburu in a press statement.  “As a Yolo County resident, I am eager to begin working with the county, and am excited to lead the department following the recent consolidation of functions.”

Echiburu will assume his new responsibilities on June 30.  The annual salary range for this position is $133,704 – $162,516.

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Two new factories for West Sac

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 18, 2014 —

West Sacramento hosts a pair of “new factory” events just over 48 hours apart this week. They’re each within what local officials call the city’s mission as a “food hub.”

Monday morning, Shinmei U.S.A. corporation broke ground on its first production facility in the U.S. – a 28,000 square foot plant to manufacture gluten-free rice buns from local product.

The plant is located in Southport Business Park at 3015 Ramco Street, near Southport Parkway.

Shinmei plans to make rice bun products certified for organic, kosher and halal labels. Its representatives say that it will house up to 150 employees when it finishes its four planned stages of growth.

West Sacramento’s proximity to the rice industry and the quality of its municipal water were both important to Shinmei’s choice of the city for the new factory.

____________________

This afternoon (June 18), city officials and media will join a tour at the new TOMRA sorting plant, 875 Embarcadero Drive in West Sacramento. The company’s Norwegian CEO, Stefan Ranstrand, and other officials will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting.

The company “serves growers, packers and processers for the fresh and processed food industries, locally and globally,” reports spokesperson Kathleen Chance.

The new West Sacramento plant is 18,0000 square feet larger than TOMRA’s previous facility, and will contain R&D labs and a test and demonstration center.

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